Rachel Taylor Brown’s 7 small winter songs (BandCamp)


A real charmer for your streaming pleasure this Friday …

“I wrote this little album in one day and Jeff (Stuart Saltzman) and I recorded it in three, in the middle of recording Half Hours With the Lower Creatures. It started as a kind of joke/challenge I made to a friend, who declined to participate. I decided to plow forward and did write 10 songs in all, but wound up recording just these seven. I had to relearn the songs just to record them, and later, to play them live! p.s…Jeff’s cats were, per usual, a big part of this recording. You can hear Franz in Amsterdam (big jump from the top of the piano to the floor–plop!). Ida is a sweet silent presence throughout.”

-Rachel Taylor Brown

CD of the Week: Kremerata’s Weinberg

Mieczyslaw Weinberg

Gidon Kremer; Kremerata Baltica

ECM New Series 2368/69 (2XCD)

The revival of music by Mieczyslaw Weinberg (1919-1996) is provided significant momentum by this double-disc set from ECM. Violinist Gidon Kremer and his Kremerata Baltica project prove to be ardent interpreters of Weinberg’s works. The release’s program includes chamber music and compositions for larger ensemble (including the centerpiece, his Tenth Symphony); it provides a fine overview of Weinberg’s aesthetic. He is often compared to Shostakovich, not unduly, as the solo sonata performed searingly here by Kremer attests, but Weinberg is a distinctive figure in his own right who deserves more frequent and prominent placement on concert programs.

You can hear Kremer and Co. performing this music tonight in New York and over the next week in other US cities (dates below).

Kremerata Baltica in Concert

January 30 – New York, NY at 92Y Kaufmann Concert Hall    



February 2 – San Francisco, CA at Davies Symphony Hall       



February 4 – Houston, TX at Stude Concert Hall       



February 6 – Ann Arbor, MI at Hill Auditorium                         



February 7 – Chicago, IL at Harris Theater   



February 8 – St Paul, MN at Ordway Center for the Performing Arts  


Friday: Taka Kigawa and Ensemble LPR

On Friday, pianist Taka Kigawa joins Ensemble LPR for a program of contemporary classical music, both watershed works and new offerings. The concert’s centerpiece is Ligeti’s Piano Concerto. The Ensemble also performs Varèse’s Octandre and Gallery Music by composer/conductor Brad Lubman (best known for his work with Ensemble Signal).

Kigawa also plays two solo pieces, Joule by Dai Fujikura and The Thinking Eye by area (Columbia U.) composer Zosha Di Castri. 

Check out a video of the Fujikura work below.

Taka Kigawa, piano; Ensemble LPR, Oliver Hagen, conductor

Friday, January 24th 8pm, at (le) Poisson Rouge.


Edgard Varèse: Octandre
Brad Lubman: Gallery Music
Zosha Di Castri: The Thinking Eye
Dai Fujikura: Joule
György Ligeti: Piano Concerto

For more info and tickets, visit LPR’s website.

Joycut: W4U

In support of their latest album Piecesofuswereleftontheground, Italian dark wave collective Joycut tours the US in February and March (dates below)

JOYCUT North American Tour

02.24 NEW YORK (NY) – Mercury Lounge
02.25 PHILADELPHIA (PA) – Johnny Brenda’s
02.26 BROOKLYN (NY) – Glasslands
02.27 TRENTON (NJ) – Mill Hill Basement
02.28 NEWARK (DE) – Mojo Main
03.02 ASHEVILLE (NC) – Emerald Lounge
03.03 ATHENS (GA) – Caledonia
03.04 ATLANTA (GA) – The Earl
03.05 PADUCAH (KY) – Maiden Alley Cinema
03.06 NASHVILLE (TN) – Rocketown
03.07 KANSAS CITY (MO) – Record Bar
03.11-14 AUSTIN (TX) – SXSW
03.16 MARFA (TX) – El Cosmico
03.19 SCOTTSDALE (AZ) – Rogue Bar
03.20 LOS ANGELES (CA) – Los Globos

03.21 SAN FRANCISCO (CA) – Hotel Utah

Mogwai – Rave Tapes

Rave Tapes
Sub Pop

Mogwai’s eighth studio album, Rave Tapes, has to be taken with a handful of ironic humor. The thought of the Glasgow collective hosting raves leads one to imagine the horrified attendees, mellow thoroughly harshed, streaming away en masse in search of various 12-step program meetings. That said, Rave Tapes does incorporate a few elements that resonate with rave culture, albeit thoroughly re-purposed. Analog synth sounds abound, as do heavy beats, amalgamated into doom-laden grooves. Thus, Mogwai’s brand of “rave” doesn’t channel or celebrate the ecstatic. Rather, it extols resilience and seems tailor made for the grimly obstinate.

In addition to the usual fierily dynamic instrumentals, such as “Mastercard” and “Remurdered,” there are some gorgeous darkly hued songs here; in particular, “Blues Hours,” in which hushed vocals are juxtaposed against powerful guitar riffs and cathartic crescendos. Spoken word commentary, about the lyric content of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” of all things, is similarly accompanied on “Repelish.”

However, some of the most thrilling music-making on Rave Tapes is found on “The Lord is Out of Control,” built with a layered approach that starts with a ground bass that is embellished with layer after layer of heavy rock melodies and angrily distressed synths. It might not get woolen cap clad heads bobbing in unison, but Mogwai’s music is eminently stirring in other ways.